Humility and the Color Green


"You Know Where You've Been, But You Don't Know Where You are Going" By Beverly Kuykendall

This was
expressed to me as a warning many times by my mother as I was growing up. Now
that I am an adult woman, I understand its meaning. It means to be careful what
you leave behind as you make your way in the world. Everything we do will
follow us, one way or another. We may think that we have gotten away with
something, but in the end, it always comes out. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson.
Just when we think it is all about us.

When we are younger
and we do something stupid (and we all do!),
we don’t think of it as life changing. We are all allowed
some degree of leniency in our
youth. We don’t expect the mistakes
we make to mark us for the rest of
our lives. But what if they do? What
if our lives are impacted by it?
What if the negative (or silly) actions in our past impose
limitations on our futures? We must always
be aware and consider all of our actions carefully, before we act. Think
about your decisions and how they will impact your life…even the smallest of
things can affect the future. If we are not careful, the change may not be
for the good.

I remember
traveling two weeks straight and making numerous speeches across the country
for various agencies and organizations. By the end of my two week tour, I was utterly exhausted
and glad to finally be headed home to Los Angeles from
Atlanta. In my exhaustion, it “seemed”
to me that every person I passed at the airport was bumping into me. Bump, “ouch”, bump “ouch.” I finally made
up my mind, that the very next person to bump
me would be in for a big surprise (as I was prepared to bump them right

Then the time
came to board the plane, people began crowding and pushing near the boarding
area. Elderly people were being bustled about, young children were being separated from their parents as people
were rudely pushing their way to the
front of the line. What ever happened to the call for people who need a little extra time to board?
Then, I saw her, out of the corner of my eye; a lady, aggressively pushing her way forward
on my left. She had on a green
dress. I thought to myself, not this time
. I steadied myself. As she moved forward to pass me, she
bumped into me, but I was a
rock. I bumped her back as hard as I could; causing her to stumble back. I
could feel her looking at me, but I
would not catch her eye. I felt a little ashamed, but told myself it served her right (anything to justify
my actions, right?).

Upon arriving
in Los Angeles, I was surprised to hear someone call my name, “Ms. Kuykendall?”
I looked to see a well-dressed, clean cut gentleman who looked vaguely

“Hi,” I said.

He went on
excitedly and with a great deal of obvious
respect, saying, “I’ve heard you speak at
least three times. You are really an exciting
speaker. I really appreciate your knowledge and your dynamic delivery.”

“Thank you,”
I said and I extended my right hand to shake his.

“Oh, Ms. Kuykendall,” he continued, “where are you coming in from?”

“Atlanta,” I

He went on to
say that his sister was arriving on that same plane from Atlanta and that he
would love to have an opportunity to introduce her to me. “Hey, Sis!” He was
waving his arms to get her attention, and as I turned to say hello, (you
guessed it) there stood the woman in the green dress!!!

The universe
does indeed have a sense of humor. All I could think of were my mother’s words,
“You know where you’ve been,
but you don’t know where you’re
going.” That one incident taught me a
valuable lesson about my inability to predict the future. My mother’s warning
had never been so well delivered!

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